Sunday, February 11, 2001

Miami's injuries mean opportunities


Grunkemeyer out; Davis, Jameson will play more

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Coach Charlie Coles would like to have Jason Grunkemeyer healthy today when the Miami RedHawks play Ball State in Muncie, Ind. (1 p.m., ESPN2). But Grunkemeyer's absence — he's not expected to play because of a sprained ankle — means opportunity for someone else.

        “It will force us to play guys who need to play,” Coles said.

MIAMI at BALL STATE
  • When: 1 p.m. today.
  • Where: Worthen Arena (11,500), Muncie, Ind.
  • Records: Miami 11-12 (7-4 Mid-American Conference), Ball State 11-9 (6-5).
  • TV: ESPN2.
  • Radio: WCKY-AM (1360), WMOH-AM (1450).
  BALL STATE
  Player-Ht-Yr-Avg
  Billy Lynch-5-9-Jr.-2.1
  Patrick Jones-5-10-Jr.-13.4
  Lonnie Jones-6-11-Jr.-10.1
  Theron Murray-6-8-So.-16.4
  Josh Murray-6-7-Jr.-8.9
  Coach: Tim Buckley (11-9, first season; 62-61 overall)
  MIAMI
  Player-Ht-Yr-Avg
  Doug Davis-6-3-Jr.-9.4
  Matt Jameson-6-1-So.-2.9
  Alex Shorts-6-8-Jr.-15.0
  Mike Ensminger-6-6-Sr.-6.0
  Juby Johnson-6-5-Fr.-5.9
  Coach: Charlie Coles (88-46, fifth season; 180-141 overall)
  BY THE NUMBERS
  • 19.0: Points Alex Shorts is averaging over the last four games.
  • 1-2: What Miami and Ball State rank in all-time winning percentage in the MAC. Miami has won 63.8 percent of its league games; Ball State owns a 57.0 percentage.
  • 76.3: Miami's free throw percentage, sixth in the nation. The school record is 76.5, set last season.
        Doug Davis, who missed five games with a dislocated toe before returning Wednesday against Kent State, will replace Grunkemeyer in the lineup at shooting guard.

        Matt Jameson, who took over for Davis at point guard, also will start. And more minutes will be available to players such as Larry Drake and Eugene Seals. Grunkemeyer leads the RedHawks in minutes at 34.1 a game.

        “When you lose guys,” Coles said, “that's a chance for someone who might not have gotten it.”

        Freshman Eugene Seals and sophomore newcomer Larry Drake figure to get more time with Grunkemeyer out. Both have played well sporadically. The same can be said of Juby Johnson, the freshman who starts.

        With only six games left before the Mid-American Conference Tournament, Miami needs to develop consistency from the young players to make a tourney run.

        Miami (11-12, 7-4 MAC) is coming off one of its best wins of the season. The RedHawks beat MAC East leader Kent State 48-45 Wednesday. The victory again showed Miami is a dangerous but inconsistent team in the MAC. The RedHawks already had a win over MAC West leader Central Michigan.

        The RedHawks also have wins over Notre Dame and Temple.

        “That's four good wins,” Coles said. “I give our guys credit for fighting and playing real hard. Very little has gone right for us, as far as injuries.”

        Miami's top three scorers — Alex Shorts, Grunkemeyer and Davis — have had injuries this season.

        Miami and Ball State played at Millett Hall 15 days ago. The RedHawks won that one 57-56 on Shorts' 18-footer with 3.5 seconds left.

        Miami is tied for fifth in the MAC overall, a half-game ahead of Ball State (11-9, 6-5). The top three seeds receive first-round byes in the MAC Tournament. The other 10 teams will play first-round games on the home floors of seeds four through eight.

        Today's game is Miami's first regular-season national TV appearance since Jan.10, 1997, when the RedHawks played Cincinnati in a midnight game on ESPN. UC won 91-61.



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